Harlem Residence Receives 2022 New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

March 14, 2022

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced the winners of the 2022 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards.

1 West 123rd Street in Harlem is among the projects that will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony on April 20th at 6:00 pm at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Harlem, Manhattan.

James Fenton and Darryl Pinckney took on a labor of love to restore their extraordinary home at 1 West 123rd Street in the Mount Morris Park Historic District.

The 1890 neo-Renaissance house was built for James Dwight, owner of the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Company. Later owners left the house in poor condition with many inappropriate changes.

The 2008 financial crisis upended a development scheme: those owners walked away, leaving the building exposed to the elements and a flock of pigeons, who moved into the house.

Working with PBDW Architects, they have spent a decade bringing the house back towards its original, magnificent condition.

The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards are the Conservancy’s highest honors for excellence in preservation.

The Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to the City.

The Conservancy is grateful for the support of the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, which makes the Awards possible.

“We have an amazing range of Lucy winners this year,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “From daring work at the top of individual landmarks to a dazzling Art Deco room to remarkably affordable housing projects. The City’s incredible architectural diversity will be on full display,” she added, “and we’re thrilled to be celebrating it all in person again.”

1 West 123rd Street in Harlem

Writers Fenton and Pinckney bought a complete ruin at 1 West 123rd Street in 2010, with no working utilities, subdivided formal rooms, a flooded basement, non-working toilets in every closet, and layers of thick paint hiding original details.

At first, they relied on a nearby fitness center and a microwave to get by. Once the house was secure, with utilities in working condition, they turned their attention to restoring their landmark.

The interior scope addressed every room, completing missing walls in the dining room, installing new fixtures and systems, and re-opening the main stair.

Careful paint removal with razor blades exposed original ornament.

Dwight family photographs deciphered mysterious changes and guided the reconstruction of missing features.

Contractors recreated lost details in wood, plaster, and decorative paint, and finished the rooms in rich colors.

At the exterior, masonry repairs secured the building and more than 50 new windows and skylights match the originals.

The two-story annex, built as a kitchen for the sanitorium, was converted into a library for over 10,000 books.

The quality, condition, and abundance of recovered detail, to say nothing of the survival of the house itself, is a tribute to the vision and persistence of its owners.

New York Landmarks Conservancy

The 2022 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project Award recipients include: 1 West 123rd Street; 55 Reade Street; 74 Grand Street; Astoria Park Pool and Play Center; Empire State Building Mooring Mast; Farley Building Postal Lobby; Gage & Tollner; Helmsley Building; Highbridge Water Tower & Step-Street; Noonan Plaza Apartments; One Wall Street; Power Station at Berklee NYC; T Building and Trinity Church Wall Street.

Yuien Chin, Preservation Advocate, will receive the 2022 Preservation Leadership Award for her work in centering Harlem’s rich architectural and cultural heritage.

Alex Herrera, Preservationist, will receive the Special Award for Preservation Service in honor of his nearly 23 years as Director of Preservation Services at the New York Landmarks Conservancy before he retired in 2021.

The Preservation Organization Award will be presented to Prospect Park Alliance for excellent stewardship of its collection of historic structures and sites.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for nearly 50 years.

Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $54 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,850 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus and supporting local jobs.

The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals.

The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today, and for future generations.

For more information, please visit www.nylandmarks.org.

Photo: 1 West 123rd Street in Harlem. By Jonathan Wallen.

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